Saturday, 20 December 2014


Hot springs are hoottt #hothothot#thailand#pai#travel#hotsprings

Spell bound
The last post on this blog concerned the Top 10 hottest hot springs in Southeast Asia for 2014. The biggest surprise is the strength of Thailand's Pai hot spring. The Bangkok Post (Dec. 15) helps with explaining the rise:
'The hit Chinese comedy Lost in Thailand (2012) made Chiang Mai a hot destination for tourists from China, and now it is weaving its spell to revive the fortunes of Mae Hong Son province, particularly Pai district.
"Pai is now like a mini Chiang Mai that Chinese tourists feel they must experience. Now we see many Chinese women dressed for pre-wedding photo sessions, riding motorcycles, taking photos and sharing them on social media," Mr Sobthana [director of the Mae Hong Son office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand] says'.
Luckily not all of them are heading for the hot springs ...

Meanwhile the number 1 in the list, Poring hot spring (Sabah, Malaysia), is set for some competition from the hot spring of Rugading, so reports the Malaysia's Daily Express (Nov. 17). The article however fails to describe what competing means; Rugading's owner in the article actually believes his hot spring is better located and more natural. With hardly any facilities and a small two by two cement pool, that may be an understatement.

Hot Springs in Tambun, Malaysia. #hotsprings #traveling #malaysia

Then we get to the hot spring varia. Alas mostly from out of the region.

A missed article from earlier this year just evidences how authorities in Zhejiang (China) are using sexist policies to attract most probably the wrong kind of clientele. WantChinaTimes (Jul. 27) reports: 
'The Sea Mud Festival on Xiushan island in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province, has become an instant hot topic after 30 Miss China Tourism Cultural World contestants in bikinis visited the festival and got down in the mud on July 21'.
How to react? 
'In response to criticism, the organizers denied using cynical publicity tactics and reminded visitors to appreciate the benefits to health and well-being of playing in mud instead of just looking at girls in bikinis'.
Small bathing cubicles? Hot spring owners in Yilan county’s Jiaosi Town, Taiwan are thinking about denying singles a singular soak, so reports the Taipei Times (Dec. 7). 
'Some hot spring owners say they are afraid of individuals using independent pool rooms as it is possible the users might suffer cardiac arrest and drown, and the establishment would be unable to provide the emergency treatment that could save their lives'.
The solution may be all too apparent:
'While the Hefong group’s Jiaosi establishment does not refuse independent pool service to single customers, it is a rule for employees to check up on customers every 20 minutes to half an hour by knocking on the door and only leaving after receiving a response, Hsiao [Hefong Resort Hotel group’s Jiaosi branch general manager] said, adding that there are emergency buttons in the rooms as well'.

'Elves' Hot Spring Hot Tub
After the rush leading up to Christmas, the elves need a place to relax. They chill out at their Hot Spring Hot Tub up at the North Pole! Not only does the warm water keep them warm, but the heat from the fireplace keeps the air nice and toasty as well!
(Unfortunately none of the elves own swimsuits, so they're stuck with their everyday clothes. Oh well, a jacket and flannel it is...)
P.S. Sorry, I don't have any alternate images, rendering took long enough as it is, darn translucent bricks. :P'.
Australia? Big country, less soaking opportunities. A belated find, but Pretraveller lists ten of Australia's best. With very good information.

A nice report on the earlier ages of Japan's onsens. As documented on Ukiyoe, woodblock prints.
'"Nanayu no Shiori," a guidebook on seven Hakone spas, maintained the no-nonsense approach when it was published in 1811. It reminds readers that hot springs are "not places to go and entertain yourself," said Yusuke Nosaka, chief curator at the Hakone Local Museum.
However, around the time "Nanayu no Shiori" came out, the hot-spring tradition was already shifting. Another book, "Hakone Onsenshi" (The History of Hakone Hot Springs), hints at how baths became mainstream tourist destinations'.
Gaming and hot springs. Japan's sees quite a lot of computer games taking place in or around hot springs, it's not that special. But now there's a new version of Pokemon ORAS a role playing game for Nintendo. The most recent version though has some scene changes: apparently the onsen with naked bathing grannies has been cleared! Kotaku (Nov. 22):
'But now on Twitter, people are reporting that the grannies are gone:
That’s a shame and makes the onsen seem so lonely. But, from the looks of it, at least you can ride your bicycle into the hot springs!
Online in Japan, some commenters are saying this happened because of the mixed bathing, that the old ladies have apparently been cut. Or perhaps the better graphics are to blame? Or maybe, as one Twitter user suggests, they’re still in Pokémon X/Y‘s Kalos region? Others say it’s because the grandmas are now bathing somewhere else: Heaven'.
Sari Ater Hot Spring  
The ladies soak in the water all covered up to protect their modesty
 Source: -Yapster-

Hot springs of Canada, 3rd edition: a review

An Australian report (Nov. 9) on a visit to the Banyan Tree's Rainforest Spa on Samui, Thailand.
'How refreshing, then, to visit a spa where shrieks, roars of laughter and happy chatter are encouraged, with the focus as much on having fun as winding down.
The 'bathhouse' concept remains popular in Europe, where 'taking the waters' became fashionable during the Jane Austen era; while the Japanese and Koreans have long appreciated a good soak. In South-East Asia, however, water therapy is still fairly unexplored territory.
Unlike most spa treatments, The Rainforest works brilliantly as a group experience. Both male and female guests are welcome to use the facility, so it's perfect for couples, friends or even families. And unlike bathhouses in other parts of the world, swimsuits are de rigueur, eliminating those uncomfortable moments of body insecurity'.

Elsewhere the same source reports (Nov. 21) on China's claim of the world's largest spa resort:
'I am about to find out at Mission Hills Resort, located on the island of Hainan, China, which holds the Guinness Book of World Records title of "World's Largest Mineral Springs Resort", clocking in at 88 square kilometres.
My room in the 18-storey main building overlooks the mineral springs, 168 pools of naturally warm water.
Mission Hills may be mass market relaxation but it is done with flair and an eye on traditional cultural references. This resort did not get to be a premier golfing destination just by breaking records. It wants to makes sure you come back for the experience not just to say you have been to the biggest, but also the best.
The writer stayed as a guest of Mission Hills'.
Hmmm, ....

From kickstarter, Nomasoak: 
'Weighing in at 45lbs. in total, the Nomasoak can go just about anywhere there’s water. In about an hour, you will be sitting in 100 gallons of blissfully hot water. Hopefully with an amazing view of something. And if your view isn’t that great, you can move on'. 
Still seems a bit of a lug ...

Hot Springs emoji #thanhtan #hotsprings #vietnam #thebuffalorun #buffalogirls @katrinaluder @sophiekiddle90

Finally, a snippet from an experience in Indonesia. From tripadvisor (Oct. 16) an insight on one of the Dieng plateau's (Java) hot springs:
'Some locals brought us to the hot springs where everyone bathes however be warned, I got a bad fungal infection from swimming in there. Water is not clean, lots of people wash every day in there, mothers clean babies bottoms and people blow their nose. The bathes do not get emptied and it is a great breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. I would say if you have an open wound or you are a female don't go in. Otherwise very interesting experience'.
Red tape
Singapore's Business Times (Nov. 21) has an extensive article on Indonesia's geothermal potential.
'... progress has been slow due to red tape, uncompetitive power tariffs and uncertainty over asset ownership. The 25 years it has taken from the planning stage to breaking ground on its latest project show the formidable barriers the sector faces.
The US$1.6 billion Sarulla project in North Sumatra, the world's biggest, saw construction start this year, 25 years after it was first planned, delayed largely by a lack of finance and red tape'.
Thinkgeoenergy (Dec. 12) notes discussions are taking place in the Philippines on how to resolve locals claims on hot spring resource .

Kahit anong #lamig ang dala ng #bagyo, nananatili pa rin ang #init sa #puso ko. #hotspring #murcia #negros #nature #sulfur #spring #travel #explore

Tuesday, 9 December 2014


The Top 10 of Southeast Asia's most popular hot springs for 2014. 

In listing this top 10 I have used relative scores between soaks depending on number of references from google over the last year, instagram, youtube, twitter, pininterest, tripadvisor, flickr and tumblr. 

Counting down, hot springs just outside the top 10 are the Filipino soak of Mambukal, Singapore's Sembawang, Bali's Toya Bungkah, Java's Cipanas, Lombok's Rinjani and Sarawak's Annah Rais.

10 (newcomer) Fang, Chiang Mai, Thailand. 
One of the few popular hot springs still in a natural setting, visitors destined for Fang are more interested in what to see rather than taking the waters themselves.
'a geyser shot up on cue every so often'
9 (newcomer) Tambun (Perak, Malaysia)
A typical destination for day visitors, Tambun offers many pools with cheap catering opportunities: a hit for the many visitors.
'Last but not least, the bloggers at the Crystal Pool. The Crystal Pool at Lost World Hot Springs & Spa is specially designed with crystal tiles thatglimmers reflecting the sunlight by day. And by night the Crystal Pool will be bathed in colorful lights which would make a dip in this pool interesting and relaxing'.

8 Banjaran (Perak)
Another Malaysian newcomer this year, the hot spring resort of Banjaran is Southeast Asia's premier exclusive hot spring destination: one visits here for the photo-op so as to show off to the less fortunate ...

需要充电!emojiemojiemoji #relax #swimmingpool #pool #romantic #getaway #surprise #banjaranhotsprings #ipoh #tagsforlikes #sweet #thebanjaranhotspringsretreat #happy #retreat #vacation #ipohcityawesome #ilovemylife #instagood #instalove #chillax #mountain #cave #travel #natureporn #naturelovers #nature #freedom
The mid terms
7 (2013: 4) Sariater, Indonesia
Sariater is a rambling and popular leisure park surrounding the hot springs, close to Bandung, Java.

6 (6) Banjar (Bali, Indonesia)
Probably one of the most authentic of the developed hot springs in Southeast Asia, Banjar's delicately decorated hot springs are a magnet for locals and tourists as well.

'In hot spring with greenish - yellow sulphurous water which is supposed to be therapeutic for skin conditions. The hot water is considered sacred by the locals. Water is about 35-40 °C but it feels good even in these hot days'. 

5 (5) Thap Ba (Nha Trang)
Vietnam's premier beach side resort caters to ever increasing numbers of tourists, who can't fail to enjoy the local mud baths slash hot springs.

'#mudbath #nhatrang #thapbaspa'

4 (2) Ardent (Philippines)
Combining enhanced spring pools in a lush jungle setting with cheap accommodation makes this an ever popular destination for locals and tourists visiting the island of Camiguin.

Number two's

Surprisingly ex-aequo are Maquinit (Palawan, Philippines) which has moved up a notch compared to last year and the too hot to handle hot springs of Pai (Mae Hong Son, Thailand), rising 6 places.
Maquinit is the ultimate place to end a day of beach and island activities with large soaking pools in saltwater hot springs.

Meanwhile Pai's hot springs are still gaining attention from many a weary traveller who are discovery this quiet and idyllic corner of northeastern Thailand.

'#hotsprings #pai #hot #burnnnn #insane #mineralwater #healthy #thailand #summer #skin #nautral #love #romance #backpackers'
And yet again Southeast Asia's most popular soak is Poring (Sabah, Malaysia). Combining a visit with an intro to the surrounding jungle is still a must when visiting Sabah and photo snapping tourist from all over the world are happy to share.

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